NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art has long had an impressive collection of still-life art about dance (much of it by a little-known fellow named Edgar Degas). But The Met as a hot dance performance venue? That's a pretty new thing—and a very, very awesome thing.
Last fall, as we were prepping to shoot our cover story on Andrea Miller's gorgeous Gallim Dance, the company gave a beautiful, innovative performance in The Met's Temple of Dendur. And now the museum has named Miller one of its 2017-18 Artists in Residence. That's especially major because Miller is the first-ever choreographer to hold the AIR title.
A choreographer's notebook can be a very private thing. After all, it's where she crafts concepts, scribbles formations and documents her dancers' rehearsal processes before anything is ready to be seen by an audience. And while many artists use video cameras to record phrases and set movement on dancers, others choose to stick with good, old-fashioned pen and paper. Here, three choreographers give us a peek into their notebooks and explain just what their notes mean.
(by Matt Karas for Dance Magazine )
As artistic director and sole choreographer for Gallim Dance, Andrea Miller is known for creating works that test both the limits of her dancers’ bodies and the imagination of her audiences.
After receiving her BFA from the Juilliard School in 2004, she joined Ohad Naharin’s Batsheva Ensemble in Israel. In 2007, Miller returned to the Big Apple and established Gallim Dance. Her choreography has since been commissioned by companies, universities and conservatories worldwide.
What inspires Miller’s choreography? Read on to find out.
Blush (by Steven Schreiber)
"Blush is based on those two or three seconds of blushing, where blood comes to the surface of your skin, but I expanded that moment into a 60-minute piece where the dancers repeatedly have to break new barriers in order to reach that warmth and heat and light.”
Head On Installation at the Guggenheim Museum by Cai Guo-Qiang (by David Heald/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation New York)
“Wonderland was inspired by Head On, an installation I saw at the Guggenheim Museum of 99 wolves charging at a glass wall, by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. The piece became about crowd behavior and mass mentality, especially in times of war.”
The Monty Python Instant Record Collection (courtesy Sony Music Entertainment)
“In high school, I listened to an audio recording of Monty Python’s ‘Argument Clinic.’ I could imagine the sketch happening physically in an abstract way, and it was exciting to play with its rhythm. I got out of a sports credit by choreographing a dance to it for an assembly.”
(courtesy Andrea Miller)
“Fold Here is inspired by ‘Cathedral,’ a short story about a guy trying to describe a cathedral to a blind man. We rehearse in this beautiful church, so I started by asking the dancers to describe its architecture. From there, I decided to take it down to a cardboard box—describing it, using it and eventually destroying it—and based the movement on that.”
Miller kayaking as a kid (iStock)
“I grew up in Utah, where being outside and playing sports were big parts of my life. Being athletic has always influenced the way I move and the way I like to see movement.”
Francesca Romo (courtesy Andrea Miller)
“I met my muse, Gallim co-founder Francesca Romo, when I got back from Israel. After watching her in class, I asked if she’d like to work with me in the studio. Then I basically built a company so I could continue working with her. She’s extremely curious, and she’s so physically intelligent. She doesn’t think twice about limits.”
Jaffa Beach in Tel Aviv (courtesy Andrea Miller)
“In Israel, I’d walk along the beach and watch the surfers. Surfers take a momentum that they can’t stop or control and carve their own paths within it, constantly making choices. That’s what the creative process should be—creating our own voices within the shifts happening around us. That’s how I came up with the name Gallim—it means ‘waves’ in Hebrew.”